Jazz Educators Journal, Vol. 37 #1

When Chuck Owen is not involved with Jazz Studies responsibilities at the University of South Florida, he is immersed with his other passion – The Jazz Surge big band. Those familiar with Owen’s two prior CDs know that his ten-year old big band will receive kudos, and especially this latest CD with talented guest soloists, trumpet Ingrid Jensen, violinst Rob Thomas, and organist Gary Versace. Performances arch from a well-delivered tribute to Louis Armstrong (a two-art piece that intriguingly blends traditional jazz and modern big band) to a mix of ballads and blues with grooves. “E Ticket” is a tempting appetizer that is really like a full entrée. And dig Jack Wilkins’ magnificent tenor solo on “My Foolish Heart”. Thomas’ violin improvisations help to set this CD apart with his exciting gallery of roles. Owen’s inspirational creativity is mined here with exceptional musical values and results.

-Herb Wong